Archive | January, 2012

Time warp

27 Jan

All week I have known that Friday would be a killer day – I had an important meeting at 8am, then 2 meetings with students at 10. Another optional workshop I could observe from 12-2, a discussion group at 2:30 and an important meeting at 3. Busy.

I had the perfect plan. Get up early and do the morning meetings. Come home for lunch, eat, feed baby, then take him with me for the afternoon meetings. After all, several people keep telling me that “all meetings are better with a baby.” I’m trying to bring babe to campus occasionally for political reasons–to normalize the idea that women, students, faculty, etc have kids and it’s ok.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up today at 10 am and realized that it is in fact, FRIDAY, Jan 27th, and I HAD NO IDEA. I could have sworn that it was still Thursday. Sworn as in checked my iphone. Facebook. Email and internet calendars for confirmation that the universe wasn’t playing a joke on me.

Nope – instead all my great plans went to waste and I missed the important morning meetings. I ended up going to campus with baby in the afternoon which was moderately successful and completely stressful because maybe meetings are fun for observers but not for the mama who needs to make sure baby stays quiet. I did what I needed to do–observed the workshop, attended the great discussion group and left too early to go to the important 3pm meeting. I found someone who had notes from the important early morning meeting. I came home, wrote up meeting notes and got a few other tasks from my RAship done. Not all a FAIL day, but it just feels like it because I let the ball drop.

It sucks because I didn’t oversleep. I didn’t get too busy. Baby wasn’t cranky. I just had no idea what DATE it was. Just when I think I have the mama thing down (I cooked all week, baby has been eating and sleeping well. I’ve been sleeping well) something just reminds me that I’m juggling a lot and one of the balls comes crashing down.

Sucks. But with a big, tall, glass of sweet red wine I’ve forgiven myself.

Now time to start the weekend πŸ™‚


Another Mama Update

21 Jan

One month after my boy was born, I wrote an update on my post-partum body. At 4 months, I think the time has come again! Read ahead if you want to hear about weight, hair loss, pain, and birth control. This one shouldn’t have anything too awkward, unless you don’t want to know the gory details of my life πŸ˜‰

Weight: I’ve probably lost 25 pounds from my pregnancy weight. I had lost 10-15 at birth, so I’ve lost about 10 pounds since then. It sounds much better writing it out than it feels day-to-day! The scale fluctuates daily, but the numbers are slow to climb down. I can’t diet because whenever I cut back on anything too drastically (like sugar! I love it! but it’s bad!), i get hungry. So instead I’m just focusing on eating better. Whole grains, lots of veggies. Cooking more, not so many microwave meals. So slowly that number is creeping down.

I’m still up a pant size–there’s no way I’d fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans, but my post-maternity jeans are too big. So I may need to buy another pair of cheap jeans to get me thru the next couple months. I have a pooch that is quite strange–it is kind of a saggy belly–but I hope it will fade further as the weight drops. Or, I’ll have a future of mom jeans. Ha!

Hair loss: Somewhere around 3 months post-partum, hair loss is typical as all those pregnancy hormones are finally leaving your body. I’ve been shedding for a month now, and it doesn’t seem to end. Yet my hair doesn’t seem too much thinner. I did get several inches cut off in December because my hair was getting scraggly, but that could be because I was due for my semi-annual haircut. It’s a pain, though, to clog all the drains with hair. To fill your vacuum with hair. To find your hair in your cooking even when it’s pulled back (yech). No fun, but hopefully it will end soon!

When I was younger and hated my curly hair, my mom was convinced that it would go straight with pregnancy. It hasn’t, but I do think the curl has relaxed a bit. The top is definitely more wavy than the bottom, but it’ll take more time to see if that’s a new truth or just a temporary thing.

Pain: wrist pain is back, with a vengeance. Now that babe is almost 15 pounds, my poor thumb/wrist just can’t support him. I need the brace just to lift him with that hand. I was reminded of just how important it is when I misplaced it for a couple days (I have to take it off to type, wash dishes, etc). Ow! I was so glad to find it! I just have to bear with the pain until babe grows, as the only easy way to heal De Quervain syndrome is to brace it and rest it, this pain will persist until it gets bad enough to look into steroids or worse.

Similarly on the pain front, babe is getting heavier and carrying him is a bit more difficult. Although I resisted the idea of the car carrier, it is really useful for appointments when the moby wrap isn’t appropraite. Tuesday we went to campus for a meeting with my supervisor and then babe’s 4-month checkup. It was simple: dad dropped us off, we crossed the street, walked into my building, took the elevator, and walked down a short hallway. Babe sat thru the meeting and then we went back out, walked to the next building over, inside and into the doctor’s clinic. (Super convenent, I know, that the health center where our family doctor is located is right next to my office and my boss’s!). Anyways, not far! That night, though my arm hurt! I tend to carry him with the car carrier draped over my elbow (like a purse or shawl) so that it is high enough it’s not banging my knees. Well, the inside of my elbow ached with a dull pain. The only thing I can think is that I hurt it carrying babe. SO we got a stroller. Which is awesome. I actually had to take ibuprofin for 2 days to deal with the ache and it seems to be gone. So beware of a heavy baby!

Birth Control: Even before babe was born, my midwife was asking about birth control. I decided to go with an IUD as they’re easy (so no remembering to take a pill), long-lasting (so I don’t have to worry about refills), and the one I chose, Paragard, has no hormones (so no weirdness). I made the final decision at my 6 week appointment and it was placed at approx 2-months post-partum. I guess that’s a really good time to place them. And, so far so good! I’ve had spotting, which is normal (and nothing compared to post-partum bleeding). It lasted for a few days and then I have occasional red-tinged discharge but nothing notable. I don’t think my period is back, as I’m still exclusively breastfeeding. Apparently Paragard can make it worse than normal, so I’m guessing I’ll know when it’s back. I’ve always been really regular and my periods don’t tend to be too bad (barely noticable cramps, not too heavy, lasting 5 days: very average).

Bonus topic: Eyesight.
As I mentioned before, my vision went bad over the last couple years. Some change may be attributed to hormones (i.e. pregnancy and breastfeeding), but not a full “point.” I’ve always had bad eyes, but they got really bad over the last couple years. Apparently around this age they should be stabilizing, but I haven’t seen it yet. My new glasses have been amazing but because of the snow I haven’t been able to go get my new contacts. Hopefully they’ll bring me back to 20/20 vision! I do hope that after we end breastfeeding that my prescription doesn’t change agian, but I figured that since I plan to feed over a year, that I’ll get at least 1 year out of any glasses/contacts I do buy.

4 months!

20 Jan

Eeek! My little bunny is 4 months old!!

The stats: weight, 14 lbs, 12 oz; height, 25 inches (he measured 25.5 at 2 months – I’m guessing it was a measuring difference, not a shrinking baby πŸ˜‰ ). Baby is in size 2 diapers and 3-6 month clothing. I can still put him in 3-month T-shirts, but pjs and pants need to be 6 month sizes.

Nicknames: muffin, Milk Monster, zayets/bunny, Nikitunya, Boo-Meh Ne-neh Brr (First middle last in his language πŸ˜‰ )

Temperament: Excited, observant, curious about the world. His moods are becoming clearer and clearer. When he’s happy he talks and squeaks. When he’s tired he fusses and shrieks.

Things I Could Do Without: Burp fountains – he’s started to projectile spit-up. Like, he’ll get virtually nothing on clothing but cover whatever is 3″ away. Like me.

Item/Toy We All Love The Most: Hmm, this is tough. Your vision is improving, so things that are black and white really catch your eye like our alphabet picture on the wall. You really like looking at yourself in your elephant crib mirror, and fall asleep to your reflection every night. Your bouncer is a daily place to chill and you still love your whale tub. Grandma and Grandpa got you some really cool toys for Christmas and when you lay on your back in the pack and play you like to kick some of them. You also really like the little duck that you got at Christmas, too.

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: Your chatter–you really like to talk! You have several consonants down: ma, na, ba, he. . .and you have the funniest set of squeaks and squeals, my baby bird. So cute!

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: Your fingers and toes. You almost always have a finger or two in your mouth (or my mouth), and you love holding your toes and legs, too. You also really love your mama–when things are sad or overwhelming or you’re tired, mom is your favorite. Dad has actually taken over the whole bedtime routine because papa=serious, mama=fun/cuddles.

My little boy, your fourth month was so busy! You celebrated holiday after holiday with your loving family. You met your uncle Mike for the first time and got quality time with grandma and grandpa. You rolled over. You felt teething pain (which has thankfully receded). You have become more involved with your environment–for example, you’ve really begun to notice your little stuffed horse (seen below). You’re beginning to follow a routine, but not so much that you get mad when we break it. You prefer your mama and papa, but not so much that you avoid strangers. We all love cuddles (and taking naps, safely, as a family). Every single day you are changing and it is so much fun watching your personality come out! You’re still such a happy, observant, joyful boy.

Your baby hair has almost all fallen out. It was a chestnut brown color and your new hair is blonde. This makes you appear as a very old man with a ring of dark hair along your back hairline from ear to ear. In another month it’ll be gone and you’ll appear bald–but your blonde hair is getting longer and longer, almost invisible to the eye. Your eyes are still a dark slate blue, but they just might be getting brighter blue with the months. I love your big blue eyes looking up at me!

When you eat, you like to pet me–reach out and grab my face, stroke my chest, hold my hand. If we forget to trim your nails, my chest gets all scratched up. You don’t really like to have your nails trimmed, but your dad does it carefully with love. Dad also does a wonderful job putting you to bed. He changes your diaper, swaddles you up in blankets, calms you, and tells you to “sleep.” You glance at him from your crib, then turn to look at your reflection in your elephant mirror, and drift off to sleep. You sleep peacefully until mama comes in to feed you and get your cuddles.

In the week since you’ve turned 4 months, we have already had so many adventures. Every night I can’t wait for tomorrow and more time to hang out with you and know you better. We love you so much little man!! XO

hi, horse!

Snow day

19 Jan



How we sleep

15 Jan

Sleep is often the focus of, well, life, while baby is young. New parents don’t get much of it, and when baby’s sleep patterns start to settle, there’s talk of routines & good habits. So I thought I’d do a post on how we sleep and how it has changed over time.

Since I’ve tried to be a laid-back parent that really follows my baby’s cues, and because we have limited space in our apartment, we didn’t create a nursery in a separate room. I’m all for co-sleeping, which describes as baby sleeping near (usually the same room) as the parents, but can be in a variety of ways: sharing the family bed; securely attaching a crib to one side of the parent’s bed, with the side near mom open; sleeping in different beds in the same room; or child sleeping in his/her own bedroom but is welcome in the parents’ bed at any time. We have co-slept in one way or another since babe was born. Co-sleeping is often used synonymously with bed-sharing, which is sharing the family bed, but co-sleeping is a larger category. That is, if you bed share, you are co-sleeping but you can co-sleep without bed-sharing.

Research has shown that in early months, co-sleeping helps to support breastfeeding and lowers SIDS risk. It also helps moms get more sleep and helps baby feel more secure (and thus, less fussy). I’m a heavy sleeper and slow to wake up, so for both of us it has been a lifesaver–I don’t have to reach far/walk far to tend to babe and he doesn’t have to shriek to wake me up. This is what we’ve done & when:

Newborn – 6weeks:
Babe was swaddled almost all the time. 2-4 swaddle blankets to keep the blankets tied and to keep him warm. He also lived in his bouncer most of the time with the vibrator vibrating. I know that the warning says not to put bouncers on raised surfaces, but we did put it on our futon–it is low to the ground and big enough that he was never too close to the edge. Rarely, I put him in the bouncer on the bed. It’s queen-sized so again, he was far from the edge. In the early days, I would sleep wherever worked with the babe–sometimes in the bed, sometimes on the futon–with him so that I could get up at night to eat (I was often hungry/thirsty as my milk regulated itself) plus I sometimes pumped, too, when we were dealing with painful feedings. I needed the TV to entertain me, so the living room was our paradise.

6 weeks-3 months:

After about 6 weeks, babe didn’t need to be swaddled so often, so he’d nap however and wherever he wanted. Sometimes laying on a blanket in the middle of the futon. Sometimes in his pack’n’play (even sometimes during tummy time!). Sometimes in his bouncer. It just depended on what worked at the time. At night, he was still swaddled but sometimes in his bouncer and increasingly in his pack’n’play. It took him a while to get used to no vibration, but gradually he got it. The pack’n’play was next to the futon or bed, always an arm’s reach or a step away.

3-4 months:
As babe has gotten used to a routine, I’ve been trying different methods of sleep. At first, he was in the pack’n’play in the bedroom, swaddled, at night. He would go to bed at 8-ish, then wake up at 11-ish, then 3-ish, then 7am-ish, then 10-am ish. Once my parents brought our awesome vintage crib (post coming soon with pics), we transitioned him to the crib. He loves the solid surface and we like having the living room to ourselves in the evening. I join babe in the bedroom sometime between 11 and 3 and it is heavenly. Our bed and lambswool comforter are like clouds of warmth and happiness after sleeping on the futon for so long. At each feeding time I would hop up, get babe out of the crib, feed him sitting using my boppy pillow, and put him back to bed. He usually fell right back to sleep, with help from his sleep sheep, crib mirror, and mobile.

The few days we have changed things up. I have been feeling exhausted–I can’t sleep at night and I’m tired all day. The physical activity of getting up to feed babe and sitting up for feedings wakes me up and I just can’t get back to sleep. I get bored if I’m not reading on my iphone, but the light wakes me up. I also used to time all his feedings so that I could see his nighttime routine. Over the holidays I stopped timing each feeding. I know he’s growing and thriving and well, I stopped caring if he was sleeping 4 or 5 or 6 hours in a row. He’s still not going to fall under my definition of “sleeping thru the night” (aka 9-10 hours) so what does it matter if he’s follwing somone else’s definition or not? So three days ago I decided to tackle side-lying breastfeeding.

I have a pretty large chest, which is good and bad. I have a lot of milk and my boobies are easy to manipulate, but they were sometimes overwhelming for a newborn. I tried side-lying a few times and there was never the right coordination of angles so that babe could get close enough to feed but not completely block his nose. Now that he’s older and can find the nipple on his own, side-lying is finally working. There are great guides online, I think I followed this one here. The way it works for us is this: I keep him on my right side. I lay on my right and start feeding from the breast on the bottom. He lays on his left side turned to me. I clear away all pillows, actually using my boppy as my pillow as the cuve allows it to hug my neck. I put his legs/bottom of swaddle (he still starts the night swaddled but wiggles out by feeding #2/3) over the covers so that I can still be covered but he’s not at risk of having a blanket cover his face. I now wear a long-sleeved T-shirt so that my arms don’t get cold at night (as the post-partum sweats are gone). I also have to wear my wrist brace as I’ve noticed that my wrist pain has flared up with both his increased weight and the manipulation of night feeds.

Once he feeds of my right side, I scoot away from him and roll to my belly so that my right breast can fall to his mouth. I have tried moving him to my left side, but it is generally less disruptive to just do it this way. He does like to feed off both sides, so this works well for us. Someone who is smaller-chested might have to move baby or move to the other side of the bed, but I have enough boob to get it to him from that angle. I keep a pacifier around if babe still wants to suck after he’s done eating, but often he knows when he’s done and just falls right to sleep. It is so great to have him right next to me all night–I can hear his sweet sighs. Smell his soft scent. Check his light breaths. When he gets hungry again his grunts and small fusses will wake me up and I just have to move into position rather than get up, retrieve him, get the pillow, etc, often turning on the bedside night-light. With side-lying we can usually find each other in the dark.

But: a funny story from a couple nights ago–everything was going delightfully. It was the 2nd night of side-lying feeding and bed-sharing. I think he ate sometime around 3/4 and then I rolled over to sleep on my left side. The first night my back got sore from always sleeping to baby, so now that we’re getting more used to things I’m more comfortable moving away from him (this is our queen bed and it is just the two of us. Dad’s on the futon. Babe and dad can’t sleep in the same room: dad’s a light sleeper and hears every.single.little grunt/sigh/whatever). Anyways, I was facing away from babe when I was woken up to a cough and a spit-up fountain on my back. I rolled over to check on him and maybe feed him more when he started shrieking! I tried one side to feed. Then the other. Then I thought maybe it was his diaper. Nope–more shrieking. I tried sitting and feeding like before. . and in the re-positioning I held him in a sitting position with his legs pressed towards his belly when he farted. And calmed down. He was shrieking with gas pains! Poor thing! But pretty funny! I think I nursed him for a bit and then we both fell back to sleep happpily until morning.

So right now we start the night with babe in crib at 8pm ish. He’ll move to bed with me at the feeding when I go to sleep. We spend the rest of the night together. Right now I’m trying to help him learn how to sleep un-swaddled. He still moves his hands so much he wakes himself, but I can’t swaddle & re-swaddle all night. He’s a big boy so it’s impossible, so I hold his hands as he falls asleep so he feels secure and it seems to be working.

Also, as I spend more time on campus doing work, I miss my boy. It is nice to have this time at night to bond. It is wonderful to be able to bed-share and to do it safely. My main philosophy these days is “as long as it’s safe–anything goes!” I’m sure the way we sleep will continue to change but for now, I’m happy to be able to spend the night in bed, sleeping, feeding, and getting my rest πŸ™‚

New glasses

15 Jan

Well, old frames, new lenses.

I made it thru this week, which for some reason was filled with exhaustion. Like I could just sleep and sleep and sleep, except at night when babe is sleeping. I’m not sure why my sleep pattern was/is so messed up, but I’ve stumbled upon one solution I’ll blog more about tomorrow–side-laying nursing and co-sleeping.
But, for now, check out my new glasses! These frames are from my last pair which scratched super-easily. Monday I went in for my first eye exam in 3 years and my prescription changed a lot. I have new contact coming in soon, but for now I can enjoy my new vision in these cute glasses. They’re wayyyyyy better than my last pair. Sure glasses are always a bit funky after wearing contacts, but I can actually see in these as opposed to my last ones. That eye doctor must have done a really poor job. This time was awesome–a young energetic female optometrist with a 15-month old of her own. She was friendly, efficient, and had some cool technologies. Most of all, she listened to the problems I was having and seems to have fixed it well without charging an eye and a leg. Im happy and I’ll definitely go back πŸ™‚

4 months

15 Jan

My little guy is 4 months old today! This little baby has grown into this big man: